Lindsay Hoyle Elected as New Speaker

Lindsay Hoyle has been selected by MPs as the new Speaker of the House of Commons, following four ballots. Hoyle, who was previously the Deputy Speaker, won the final ballot against Chris Bryant by 325 votes to 215 votes.

Other candidates who took part in the ballot were Meg Hillier, Edward Leigh, Rosie Winterton, Harriet Harman and Eleanor Laing.

Commons Select Committee Anger as Google Boss Matt Brittin Claims He Doesn’t Know His Own Pay

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Matt Brittin has been fiercely criticised in a Select Committee hearing after MPs asked for his pay, saying that “I’ll happily disclose that if it’s a relative matter for the committee”. After being told that it was an matter for the committee Brittin claimed that he didn’t know how much he was paid.

Brittin’s comments have risked appearing inflammatory after it was thought he would bring some clarity to the news of how much tax Google are paying in the UK. Meg Hillier, the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee said:

“Out there, our constituents are very angry, they live in a different world clearly to the world you live in, if you can’t even tell us what you are paid.

It seems a bit of a PR disaster if you didn’t have the nous to realise in the same week that taxpayers were filing their tax returns, and sweating over a little bit of bank interest and getting it in on time, and you announce this as a good deal”.

Brittin refused to clarify his pay despite being asked and Hillier said “you don’t know what you get paid, Mr Brittin?” with the Google boss struggling to give even an approximate figure. Brittin’s performance may now lead to further investigations into Google’s tax arrangements although the company said that it always pays the correct tax in every country in which it operates.

National Audit Office queries cost of Disability Benefits Tests

2015 General Election - Cabinet

The National Audit Office has said that the cost of disability benefit assessments, also known as fit-to-work tests, have increased to £579 million per year.

The announcement puts pressure on Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to review the cost of the process. The cost of each individual test has increased from £115 to £190 with the total cost of the assessments nearly doubling.

The National Audit Office research also showed that the private operators running the tests were not meeting the conformance standards which had been set by the Government.

Meg Hillier, the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, said:

“The department needs to do more to ensure private providers deliver a better deal for sick and disabled people as assessments have a huge impact on their ability to access vital cash to live with dignity”.